Alright, so I know you have had doctors, nurses, books, Dr. Google, and everyone in between telling you all about the benefits of breastfeeding. I learned and read all of the same information. It convinced me.
But what I lacked in my research was some ‘real mom life experience’ information — benefits from a mother’s perspective.
Did I mention I am typing this while my 18-month-old is breastfeeding with her body sprawled on me? See, its little things like this that would have been nice to know about breastfeeding. Like how your gigantic toddler will have no problem pushing your laptop off your lap so she can take that spot to breastfeed.
That is the reality, you never get a break, and you never know what to expect.
During my first few weeks after giving birth, I was blown away by my misperceptions of EVERYTHING when it came to having a baby. Breastfeeding was at the top of the list of misconceptions. This is the reason why I started this blog so that other parents can get a different perspective on things.
Which is why today I want to share with you the benefits I have personally experienced after breastfeeding for 18 months. It is realistic and not sugar coated fluff. Things I have witnessed just living my life every day and watching my baby grow. As simple as that.
So let’s get into the benefits of breastfeeding!
Remember, breastfeeding is not all rainbows and buttercups – for the dark side of breasting, haha, click here: 18 Reasons Why Breastfeeding “Sucks” – To Celebrate My 18th Month Breastfeeding
#1 Breast is best when it comes to bonding
This is the truth. When you bring your child home for the first time, and you have no idea what to do with him or her, breastfeed, and those nerves will melt away (at least when you get that darn latch right).
Nursing my baby is what brought us together. I know it would have happened regardless, but I feel like nursing accelerated our bond. I was her ultimate lifeline during my pregnancy, and this kept me as her lifeline for a little while longer.
After spending nine months together nonstop, you get used to having this little person with you, I had separation anxiety – but lone and behold nursing her daily was just what I needed to reaffirm our bond.
#2 Advantage of breastfeeding is it helps baby sleep
There are so many schools of thought on allowing your baby to fall asleep at the breast. As an exhausted mother, getting my baby to sleep is something I could never pass up. Yes, I allow my baby to fall asleep at my breast and it is excellent. My husband would scoop her up and place her into the bassinet when she was a newborn.
My daughter is a fantastic sleeper. She naps once daily and sleeps a good ten hours or so at night. Her bedtime is an issue right now as a toddler, but when she does sleep, it is solid.
#3 Great reason to breastfeed is your baby will recognize you sooner
I think your baby learns a lot while nursing and with all five senses. She learns your face, smell, skin texture, voice, and the taste of your milk. She realizes very early on when you are holding her versus anyone else.
Her world revolves around you, and you are what she learns about first. You are the first things she explores; I could see that little brain working whenever she nursed. Being near your baby while breastfeeding allows that to happen.
#4 Your breastfed baby will be soothed while crying
When your baby is crying, and her diaper is clean, and nothing else is bothering her – all you have to do is give her your boob and the world will be at peace. Okay, this may not be the solution every time. But it is the solution at least 75% of the time.
I have heard nightmares about colic babies, and my daughter did not go through that at all. Of course, she cried, but not to that extent. Just be aware of your diet because what you eat affects the breastmilk.
#5 Breastfeeding helps with everything
On the same note as soothing a crying baby, breastfeeding helps a baby in a variety of ways. It helps when my daughter is:
Oh yeah, it also helps when she is hungry, haha.
All kidding aside, using your breasts to comfort your child, is fantastic! It is what they were made for so use them.
I even nurse her after she gets vaccinated to take the pain away.
#6 Your breastfed toddler always comes back to you
Toddlers are curious and love to explore!
Sometimes it even feels like your baby is gone, it can also get sad. But after all the exploring, tantrums, defiance and everything else a toddler goes through – your baby always come back to your boobs.
At this point, she is a giant baby, but it is still the sweetest thing.
#7 Breastfeeding delayed my period and was birth control
I had a whole two years without my period, which was awesome! That includes the time I was pregnant. A good 15 months or so were after I gave birth. I appreciated every month that went by without my monthly visitor, and I know I delayed it because I breastfed so long. There is no other explanation.
It also served as birth control. I know this because I am not pregnant! I was weary about birth control messing with my breastmilk, so I opted not to take it to be on the safe side.
#8 Best feeling when your baby looks up at you while breastfeeding
If you ever want your heart to melt, nurse your child and look him or her in the eyes. That moment that they gaze back at you…is the best feeling!
I am getting
As newborns, they will do it ever so often, but after a few months that gaze can last minutes and is so hypnotizingly beautiful. It makes everything worth it, even the trauma of childbirth.
#9 It is an even better feeling when your baby laughs while nursing
If you think her staring lovingly in your eyes is amazing, aww well then you have to experience her laughing while nursing.
You can do something as simple as making a funny face or playing peekaboo with your child, and they will crack up and when it happens while nursing
It’s worth it to see a smile and laughter as your child looks up at you while nursing.
#10 Breastfeeding benefits the environment, no bottles, less waste
Since my daughter nursed and never drank from a bottle, we reduced our waste from it. The only time we bought bottles was to see if she would take them. Since she preferred the boob, we did not have to spend much money on bottles. Now, we do not have a ton of bottles to throw out.
We also are reducing our waste because we do not have to buy additional bottles and other supplies that come with a bottle or formula feeding. And most of all, we never had to spend time washing bottles!
#11 Breastfeeding saves time and money
We also never had to buy formula. I have seen the prices of formula, and I am glad that we stuck to breastfeeding, it is expensive. With breastfeeding, you pay more with your time and dedication, but for me, it was worth it.
If you are on a budget like I am, you may want to look into the cost of formula feeding. According to Beyond Baby Organic, it costs about $2300, to read up on this number click here Cost of Baby Formula for One Year
That is money in the bank! Huge cost savings.
#12 My baby is growing amazingly
After I gave birth, my daughter’s weight dipped a bit, and she was born on the small side. Once we got into the groove of breastfeeding her weight increased and from that point on she has been growing amazingly.
Her weight and height percentile is always in the middle – not overweight, not underweight just perfect (at least in my motherly opinion) — a perfect little curve on the chart.
My doctor loves it, and he gives me credit for all the breastmilk I have given her.
#13 My nursing baby does not get sick often
In her 18 months, she has been legit sick two times with a cold and mild fever, once during her first Christmas and the other time during her first birthday. That is why I remember her illness vividly. She has had a runny nose here and there as well but nothing major.
The two times she was sick, I got sick too and continued to breastfeed her to pass on my antibodies. She got better fast both times; they were not the kind of sickness’ that dragged on for many days, thankfully.
Other than that she has been a healthy baby. With all the literature I have read on antibodies and breastfeeding I am taking the credit for this. Although she is not in daycare, she does spend time with lots of her young cousins and family often.
I am confident to say that the breastfeeding has helped her immune system.
#14 As a newborn she pooped right on schedule
And still to this day we know when to expect a poopy diaper. Her stools have always been very predictable. She has never been constipated, gassy, dehydrated, and as a baby, she rarely
I remember reading while I was pregnant about keeping burping cloths everywhere, so we loaded up on those, but we hardly used them for her spit up. I used them more to clean up my breastmilk leaks! I remember I would get my burping cloths and use them to soak up my second boob let down.
#15 Major benefit: breastmilk saves lives!
I had mentioned this before in my blog since my daughter refused to use a bottle I ended up donating my pumped breastmilk to a milk bank. Specifically, I donated to Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin; you can learn more about them here: Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin
It was the best thing I could have done with my milk. According to their site, they donate to, “hospitalized preterm or sick babies who benefit from the optimal nutrition, easy digestibility, and infection-fighting components of human milk.”
If you are soon to be lactating – keep milk banks in mind if you have any milk to spare.
#16 Nursing gets me sleepy and makes me feel good
Sometimes I get sleepy when it is inconvenient – but sometimes after a long hard day at work getting sleepy is exceptionally convenient! On those days nursing her ensures that I will get the rest I need.
One thing I noticed was after my let down; I got this ‘body rush’ wave over me that made me feel good. It feels like good hormones or something. I remember in my breastfeeding class they mentioned that when you nurse, it releases hormones. I feel it! Some days it is stronger than others. But it is a nice feel-good hormone. It is almost like a little reward for nursing.
#17 Baby milestones were hit in advance
Okay, so maybe I am just a proud mama, but I swear my baby is advanced when it comes to learning and she hit her baby milestones pretty early. Whenever I would get the email about what milestones she would be hitting in the next few months, she had already hit it, such as sitting up, crawling, walking, etc.
Now that she is 18 months, she knows how to count, her alphabet, shapes, and colors. She catches on to everything we teach her and fully understands what we say.
Could it be the breastmilk? Maybe, studies I have read swing both ways. As far as intelligence, some studies say it does; some studies say it does not. All I know is that my baby is a fast learner and she has been breastfeeding her whole life.
#18 Breastfeeding makes us happy
It really makes us happy. After work, my baby and I are happy when we get to reconnect after being apart all day long.
It is that easy and that
Based off of my experience with my daughter, if I have another child, I would breastfeed him or her. I feel like the struggle to breastfeed was worth it, and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
The benefits from a mom who has breastfed for 18 months and counting have been fantastic!
I will be honest; there was a time or two (or twenty) when I wanted to give up, but my daughter did not let me. While it is not the easiest thing to do in the world, I see the results. I can look at my daughter and know she is my little garden, I made her, watered her and watched her grow.
I hope my (kind of bias) mommy perspective helped you out! Sometimes we need a break from science and need to see what happens when we are taken out of the research world and look at life and how things have turned out.
Did I forget a benefit? What has been your experience? Share with me by commenting below. If you know a soon to be
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